Editor Jeff Toalson

Jeff Toalson and his dog.Missouri native Jeff Toalson earned a BS in business management from Missouri State University. After the successful 2006 release of No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion, Jeff began work on the wartime letters of Richard and Mary Watkins. He lives in Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife, Jan.

Send Me a Pair of Old Boots and Kiss My Little Girls

Click to Purchase Jeff's Book. Signed copies available at the show.

The Civil War Letters of Richard and Mary Watkins, 1861-1865 - Between 1861 and 1865, Confederate Captain Richard Watkins and his wife Mary exchanged detailed and heartfelt letters.  Richard had enlisted with Company K of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry after Virginia seceded from the Union.  Mary remained living near Meherrin, (Prince Edward County) Virginia raising their three daughters and managing the farm. Sharing their letters with future generations was likely something the pair never envisioned.

Editor Jeff Toalson, however, discovered, transcribed and annotated this extraordinary rare collection of more than 300 unpublished letters. Held by the Virginia Historical Society, the letters convey detailed information about the war and daily life during a critical time in our nation’s history. Unlike military accounts of Civil War maneuvers and battles, the letters bring a clear sense of humanity to the conflict and its affects on those who lived through the time.

Richard and Mary’s letters are touching and intriguing, weaving both a love story and an intense eyewitness account of the war.  All of the major campaigns in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania are covered.  Jeff’s editing and attention to detail bring this heart-warming and engaging story to life.  Despite the hardships, fears, disease and separation, you’ll be fascinated by the humor, depth and the stark realities of the Watkins’s lives.

“The letters of Richard and Mary Watkins are a treasure.  A rare perspective offering tremendous insight into the daily life of both as they struggle with the hardships of war, farm operations and family concerns. A must read.”
- Neal Wixson, editor, Echoes from the Boys of Company H